For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection where she played at the Lindo Theater. The first is a newspaper clipping which advertises The Donna Darling Revue playing for 4 days at the Lido. at the same time as “The Savage” a comedy novelty movie. According to IMDB, the film was released on 18 July 1926. Sadly, the film is apparently lost, with no known copies left. From the ad, it looks like a really funky movie. “One wild man—many wild animals—a naughty dinosaur—and a society deb looking for a thrill. Oh, spare us—we can’t mention it without laughing.” It is hard to think of the film’s story without laughing. Ben Lyon went on to star in the 1930 version of “Hell’s Angels.” May McAvoy went on to be in “The Jazz Singer” with Al Jolson.
I had previously seen articles in Newspaper Archives and Newspapers.com indicating that the Donna Darling Review played at the Lindo Theatre in Freeport, IL on August 3, 1926. The clipping clarified the dates as being August 2nd through the 5th. Donna’s show was “One of those big acts that seldom gets to small towns” and “Missing this [show] is like losing one of life’s treats.”
I have cropped, edited, and sized the photos for the web.
William Hunt Scott, my 3rd great-grandfather, was born about 1834 in St. Clair County, Illinois. I followed him back from his being the head of the household to the 1850 Census and living in the household of his father Samuel Kinkade Scott at Turkey Hill, St. Clair County.[i] The 1850 household looked like:
Samuel K Scott 41 Farmer – Real Estate Value 1600
Elizabeth Scott 30 Keeping House
William H Scott 16 Farming
Sarah Scott 14 Attending School
Mary Scott 11 Attending School
Francis P Scott 10 Attending School
Emily Scott 5 Attending School
Rachel Scott 1
This household has every appearance of being a traditional home with husband, wife, and six children. I hoped I could continue back to the 1840 Census. Would the Samuel Scott family include all the children and fit the model of a traditional family or might there be some other individuals in the household.
5-10 1 Presumed to be William Hunter (Born 1830-1835)
30-40 1 Clearly the Head of Household – Samuel K Scott (Born 1800-1810)
< 5 2 Presumed to be Sarah and Mary – (Both born 1835-1840)
20-30 1 Presumed to be Elizabeth (Born 1810-1820)
All entries are consistent with the 1850 Census.
William Hunt Scott and his two oldest sisters are clearly enumerated in the 1840 Census. William won’t be in the 1830 Census and his father, Samuel was only 21 years old in 1830, very possibly in the household of his father, John Scott. I am looking forward to researching this family line back to the revolution.
[ii] 1840 Census (NARA), 1840 Census – Samuel Scott – St Clair, Illinois. “United States Census, 1840,” database with images, FamilySearch accessed: 15 August 2017), Samuel Scott, St Clair, Illinois, United States; citing p. 280, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 70; FHL microfilm 7,644. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XHBJ-5WZ
“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I learn of a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.
Three New Venues discovered.
Another great week of Donna in the News with three new venues discovered and an intriguing note about Donna having been in a train crash.
The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) newspaper dated 29 March 1924 shows that Donna Darling and company played in a song and dance revue at the Fort Armstrong theatre. In another article, from March 31st, the paper indicated that she missed her first show at the Fort Armstrong because of a train crash. I wonder how bad of a crash was it? The crash has the potential of making another great story. I’m looking forward to additional research.
Next, is an ad from the News Record (Neehah, WI) newspaper dated 5 December 1924. The ad shows that the California Motion Picture Bathing Beauties, featuring Donna Darling played at the Neehah theatre on December 8 & 9.
Finally, from the The Record (Hackensack, NJ) dated 23 February, I learned that Donna Darling and Company played at the Lyric Theatre in Hackensack, for three days beginning February 24th.
52 Ancestors – Week 2018-16
By Don Taylor
Some families are difficult to research because there aren’t many records about a family in a pioneer location. Other times there are too many people with the same name in a location. Such is the case of my Aunt Barbara’s maternal grandfather, Jacob F. Wilhelm. His father was also Jacob Wilhelm and his mother was Louise. He married a Louise Lenz. There were also two other Jacob Wilhelms living in Chicago during the time of Jacob and his father. Separating them all is difficult, but I think I have it.
Research Durand 2018 – Ancestor #6
List of Grandparents
Grandfather: Jacob Frederick Wilhelm (1875-1943
1st Great-grandfather: Jacob Wilhelm
Jacob Frederick Wilhelm (1875-1943)
Jacob Frederick Wilhelm was born on 1 July 1875 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. It appears that he was the oldest of two (known) children of Jacob and Louise Hanns (or Harrus) Wilhelm, both of whom were German immigrants. In 1870, Chicago was the fifth largest city in the United States with almost 300,000 people. When Jacob was born, Chicago was still recovering from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire had left nearly 1/3 of the city’s population (100,000 people) homeless.
In the ensuing years between his birth and 1900, the population of Chicago grew to nearly 1.7 million, a growth of more than five times in 25 years. Most of these new immigrants were from Europe; however, many migrated from the eastern states also.[i]
In 1893, when Jacob was 18 years old, Chicago was host to the “World’s Columbian Exposition” (aka Chicago World’s Fair). More than 27 million people attended the fair; I have to imagine that young Jacob and his 16-year-old brother, George, had to have attended sometime during the event.
Jacob married Louise Lentz on 18 March 1903 in Chicago. Like Jacob, Louise was the daughter of German Immigrants. It was the first marriage for both of them.
Jacob and Louise had five children
Elizabeth Born 1904, who married Harold Woolrich (or Wodrich).
Dorothy Born 1907 who married Richard Durand.
Edward Born 1911, (Marital status unknown)
Robert – Born 1923, who married Merla (unknown)
Louise – Born 1927, who married Charles Jordan
In 1910, Jacob and his wife were living at 5249 Carpenter Street with his two children and his brother George. Jacob is the foreman at a packing house.
It appears that by 1916, Jacob was working at a saloon at 5250 South Ashland Ave.[ii] By1917 Jacob had become a saloonkeeper at 2901 N. Kedzie Ave. Chicago. He lived upstairs and the saloon was downstairs.
Jacob was described as tall, with a medium build, gray eyes, and light brown hair. He was identified as having a paralyzed right arm and throat on his World War 1 draft registration, thus disqualifying him from service.
There was probably nothing as disastrous to a saloonkeeper as Prohibition, which was ratified by the states in January 1919 and took effect on January 16, 1920. The 1920 Census, which was enumerated on 1 January 1920, shows Jacob as a storekeeper of a grocery store at 2901 N. Kedzie. His saloon was converted to a grocery store which he, and presumably his wife ran. His oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was working as a stenographer, and his younger daughter, Dorothy, and his son, Edward, were attending school.
The 1930 Census indicates the family was still at 2901 N. Kedzie, however, in 1930 it was a candy shop. Living with Jacob is his wife Louise and his son Edward who was working as an office clerk. His two youngest, Robert is attending school and Lois is only 2-1/2.
By 1940, the candy store appears to have shifted back to a retail grocery store. Jacob was the Storekeeper and his wife was a clerk. Their youngest children, Robert and Lois, are still living with them and are attending school.
It appears that sometime between 1940 and 1943, Jacob and Louise moved two blocks away to 2938 N Sawyer Avenue.
Death & Burial
Jacob F. Wilhelm died on 23 June 1943 of chronic myocarditis. According to his death certificate, he was buried at Fairmount Cemetery in [Willow Springs], Palos [Township], Cook County, Illinois. Find-a-Grave did not have a memorial for Jacob Wilhelm, so I created a memorial and I have requested photos of his marker.
On his social security application with the Chicago and North Western Railroad, Jacob’s son, Edward Clarence Wilhelm, indicated that his father’s middle name was “Ferdinan.” I think this was in error. Edward’s maternal grandfather’s name was Ferdinand. I believe that Edward confused the two names. The best source I have for Jacob’s middle name is his World War I draft registration which indicates that his middle name was Frederick. Jacob saw this form, was literate and signed the registration indicating that he had verified the information and it was true.
1910 Census, Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, IL – ED 1281, Sheet 15A, Line 79. United States Census, 1910, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MK8Q-56T : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm, Chicago Ward 29, Cook, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1281, sheet 15A, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration); FHL microfilm 1,374,288.
1920 Census, Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, ED 1677, Sheet 7B, Line 77. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MJQY-D31 : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm, Chicago Ward 27, Cook (Chicago), Illinois, United States; citing sheet 7B, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration); FHL microfilm 1,820,340.
1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1930 Census – Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, Illinois. Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census.
1940 Census, Ancestry.Com, Jacob Wilhelm – Chicago, Cook, IL – ED 103-2026, Sheet 2B, Line 75.
Illinois Certificate of Death – Number 18873, Jacob F. Wilhelm – Image from
City Directory (A), Ancestry.Com, Chicago – 1917 – Page 1919 – Jacob F Wilhelm.
Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947, Family Search, Death – Jacob F. Wilhelm – 23 Jun 1943. “Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQPK-RR8 : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob F. Wilhelm, 23 Jun 1943; Public Board of Health, Archives, Springfield; FHL microfilm 1,953,885.
Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920, Family Search, Jacob Wilhelm & Louise Lenz – 18 Mar 1903. “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N7DW-2WB : accessed 1 May 2016), Jacob Wilhelm and Louise Lenz, 18 Mar 1903; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, 362375, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,349.
U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,Ancestry.Com, Jacob Fredrick Wilhelm. Registration State: Illinois; Registration County: Cook; Roll: 1613896; Draft Board: 64.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to the Bijou Theater. The problem is, of course, there are many theaters named Bijou and none of the clippings indicate both location and date. What I do have is:
Ad clipping – Bijou – Mon – Tues – Wed – California Bathing Girls (0065)
Ad, Article, and Photo – Bijou – Thur, Fri, Sat Donia Darling & Co. “Modern Vaudeville Frolics – Savannah (0155)
Ad – Bijou – Hollywood Revue Motion Picture Bathing Beauties (1403)
Ad – Dacatur’s Favorite – The Bijou – Donna Darling and Sammy Clare Revue – “A Modern Vaudeville Frolic” (1428) (Might be June 24, 25, 26)
Ad – 5 Days – Bijou – Hollywood Motion Picture Bathing Beauties – (1504 – two parts)
Cinema Treasurers indicates there are 204 theaters in the United States named “Bijou.” Twenty-two of them are still open and 182 are now closed.[i] Consequently, determining which of the many Bijou theatres Donna played at and when will be a challenge, but here goes.
DDC Bijou Image 1 (0065)
Bijou Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday – California Bathing Girls.
Write-up Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties – in a Beach Promenade in Six Gasps and Three Shocks.
Also playing was Geo. Walsh in The Plunger.
Also on stage, Billy Bowman, Ca?pas Brothers,
Bo-peep and Jack Horner – Harry Sykes.
I recalled seeing Donna Playing with “The Plunger” previously. I wrote about it in “Donna at the Bijou – New Haven, CT – Donna Darling Collection – Part 8. She played there sometime in November or December 1920.
I searched the James Blackstone Memorial Library for New Haven newspapers for Bijou and was not successful finding a match.
DDC Bijou Image 2 (0155)
The page includes an ad, an article, and a photo. The ad says:
Coming – Thur.—Fri. – Sat. Donia [sic] Darling & Company – Modern Vaudeville Frolics
5 big acts direct from the Broadway Theaters.
Also playing at the time is “Baldwin & Blair – A Real Comedy Skit.”
Also, there is a great newspaper photo of Donna with a small “Savannah Morning” pasted to the front. Below the photo the caption reads, “Donna Darling of the Donna Darling Revue, coming to the Bijou Theater Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.”
Another headline says “[F]ive Clever Acts at Bijou… Week’s beginning – [Da]rling revue is Feature of Second Half.
In so far as Darling beans beloved, a pet and a favorite, the attractive young person called Donna Darling has been well named. She has been a beloved favorite of theater-goers in musical comedy ??? in vaudeville, and well she sl?????? Be as she has all of those things which go to make a theatrical popularity. She is pretty to the extreme that not long ago she won first prize in a beauty contest. She has ability which is proven by the fact that she was the prima donna in the spectacular production “Chin Chin” and one of the Vitagraph screen Stars.
Miss Darling believes in be timely and so for her present sojourn in vaudeville she presents a revue – The Donna Darling Revue. This is described as a Dazzling Fantasy. Featured in the company is Sammy Clark, a juvenile comedian of repute. The company, including Miss Darling, is a trio—three clever versatile artists who work with unction to put over this new act of hers and they succeed in making it everything this type of entertainment is supposed to be.
The venue is the Bijou Theatre.
The show is the “Donna Darling Revue” with Sammy Clark.
The location is Savannah—probably Savannah, GA.
The show ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Also on bill
Baldwin & Blair in “A Real Comedy Skit”
Cinema Treasures confirmed there was a Bijou theater in Savannah Georgia. Chronicling America (LOC) also confirms that Savannah has a morning paper called the “Savannah Morning News.”
The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark was one of the last shows that she did. We know she was doing “Donna Darling and Girls” in September 1925 and was doing the Donna Darling Revue in 1926. By June 1927, she was doing Modern Vaudeville Frolics. From that, I surmise that this show was sometime between September 1925 and June 1927.
DDC Bijou Image 3 (1403)
This is a small ad showing Donna Darling, a Mack Sennett Prize Winner, in a tidal wave of unique dancing, blue singing, clean comedy. Everything about this ad indicates it is a smaller version of DDC Bijou Image 5. I will address this image with image 5 below.
DCC Bijou Image 4 (1428)
Decatur’s Favorite – The Bijou
3 Vaudeville Acts Donna Darling and Sammy Clare [sic] Revue “A Modern Vaudeville Frolic”
Paul & Darling “Two Broadway Rounders”
Billy De Armo – Comedy Novelty.
Event found – Need to document – See below.
DCC Bijou Image 5 (1504)
This is a great ad that shows a photo of Donna but also lists many of the other individuals in the show including
Al Ross – Christie Comedies – Eccentric Dancing Life Guards
Alyce Louyse – Hawaiian Dancer and Bather from Mars.
Murray Earle – George White Scandals – Eccentric Dancing Life Guards
Rose Lasgo – Christie Comedies Acrobatic Dancer
Again, the Donna Darling Collection provided insights into Donna’s vaudeville career. With the Bijou pages, I gained additional information regarding three of her venues. I also learned of a show she did in Savannah that was heretofore unknown.
Future Article: Donna at the Bijou in New Haven, CT, Nov/Dec 1920 – California Bathing Girls.
Research later. Donna at Bijou in Savannah, GA, between Sep 1925 and June 1927 – Donia [sic] Darling & Company – Modern Vaudeville Frolics
.No further Action. (See 5 below)
Future Article: Donna at Bijou in Decatur, IL on July 25, 1925- Donna Darling and Sammy Clare [sic] Revue “A Modern Vaudeville Frolic”
Future Article – Donna at the Bijou in Decatur, IL on January 25, 1925 – California Bathing Beauties – Donna Darling.